KHOPOTSO: Paint and lots of it, was the theme of the day on Tuesday for children at the Tapologo AIDS hospice in Rustenburg, in the North West. Music and dance added to the fun. The day was about affording the kids an opportunity to express themselves in a creative and artistic manner. It’s part of a concept by British artist, Craig Kilford,
best-known for his paint works. Kilford has visited the hospice twice in just over a year.
CRAIG KILFORD: One of the most moving times in my life was when I came down here for the first time last year. I brought colouring books and stuff with me for the kids. And we gave a young boy a colouring book and it cost, like, R5, I think, from London. And it just made his whole day. So, it has an immediate impact on the way people live.
KHOPOTSO: The reaction from that gravely ill boy, last year, prompted Kilford to come back to South Africa with a mission. In early June, he will direct a four-day exhibition at Sun City, called ‘Positive Hope, Healing and Compassion exhibition’. It’s a fusion of art, music, fashion and food aimed at creating awareness around HIV and AIDS and raising funds for the Tapologo hospice. In between puffs on a cigarette, paint-artist Kilford, swears by the healing qualities of his art form.
CRAIG KILFORD: Definitely, definitely’¦ If you look back at Egyptian times, they use colour for different types of therapy. For example, in a kind of area where you want some healing, you only use a yellow kind of colour, possibly. You wouldn’t want a deep red in a hospice, for example, because you’ll have a negative impact on the people that are in there over a certain amount of time. So, there’s a lot of science behind it.
KHOPOTSO: Lesedi Malete, a 19-year old high school pupil, is one of those who participated in the painting workshop. He told me why he joined.
LESEDI MALETE: To enjoy myself and to support children who are orphans.
KHOPOTSO: Tell us about your drawing.
LESEDI MALETE: I’ve drawn a heart and some decorations and a place where I come from – Boitekong.
KHOPOTSO: What does the heart mean?
LESEDI MALETE: It means love. They have brought love to us.
KHOPOTSO: Your heart is actually in two colours. You have one half, which is red and then, one half, which is green. What do the colours mean?
LESEDI MALETE: The red colour means love. The green colour (is) for hope’¦
KHOPOTSO: Lesedi Malete’s hope is for a brighter future for all children experiencing the effects of HIV and AIDS. He is an orphan and is looking after his younger siblings. Kerileng Mushi is a social worker who heads up the Orphaned and Vulnerable Children’s programme at the Tapologo Hospice.
KERILENG MUSHI: We’ve got 30 households that are child-headed’¦ We’ve got about 77 that are granny-headed households and aunty-headed households. We combine the two. And we’ve got what we call potential child-headed households. In other words, these are the children who are staying with parents who are sick. So, we call them potential orphans because the parents might die’¦
KHOPOTSO: Bishop Kevin Dowling of the Catholic Diocese of Rustenburg, declared one of the world’s heroes by Time magazine, is the chairperson of the Tapologo project.
BISHOP KEVIN DOWLING: It’s a day of joy. It’s a day which enables all of our workers to come together with some of our kids and our people and just forget, perhaps, for a moment about what’s going to happen tomorrow or the next day and to realise we’ve something very special in the love and care that we share together ‘ that we are a family. Tapologo is a family ‘ a community. And this is an opportunity to be that.
KHOPOTSO: While the music blared on and paint coloured faces, clothes and paper, still uppermost in Bishop Dowling’s mind was the reason for all of this and the need to continue the legacy he has built over the last 12 years through Tapologo ‘ a place of rest.
BISHOP KEVIN DOWLING: We live next to the huge village of Phokeng’¦ We have a home care team here and an antiretroviral clinic and we have a hospice. It’s very conveniently located on the major taxi-bus routes, so people can get here very easily to visit people here in the hospice. This is a very big village – the head-quarters of the Bafokeng clan. They are supporting us. They very much want us to continue rolling out our home-care nursing programmes in the Bafokeng villages. In fact, we got a request to build up teams in 6 new areas in the Bafokeng area of 29 villages’¦